Rumors have been spreading that a remaster of Red Dead Redemption is in the works, and although nothing has been officially confirmed by Rockstar Games, fans are anxious for it not to be a repeat of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. GTA: The Trilogy launched to a less-than-stellar reception in November, with fans and critics taking issue with the overall aesthetic of the remasters, as well as the litany of bugs there were at launch. Compounding this criticism further is the fact that Rockstar removed the original GTA Trilogy games from online stores, meaning that the only versions of the games now available to purchase are the remasters.
Excitement for the remastered GTA Trilogy started high, but dropped startlingly fast once the problems of the new ports began to show themselves. There are glitches that range from annoying to outright bizarre, which has in turn prompted a massive fan backlash toward the new GTA Trilogy. The quality of the GTA Trilogy has also made fans worry about what sorts of issues could potentially plague a remastered Red Dead Redemption, which is rumored to be next on Rockstar’s list of games to remaster.
Red Dead Redemption and its sequel were both incredibly successful, and Red Dead Online has maintained a consistent player base. With Red Dead Redemption 2 being praised as one of Rockstar’s best games overall, plenty of players would probably be glad to go back to where the series began. The game itself already has a rich story and plenty of side missions, and would benefit massively from a graphical upgrade. As for gameplay improvements, a remastered Red Dead Redemption could incorporate RDR2’s gunplay, and narrow the gap between the two titles.
Another thing to take into account regarding the Red Dead Redemption series is how much respect the audience has built up for the protagonists and their adventures. Unlike the Grand Theft Auto series, the outlaw cowboys of Red Dead tend to carry a lot of emotional weight, with levity mostly coming in the form of occasional lighthearted missions or side activities, in comparison to GTA’s constant tongue-in-cheek attitude. Red Dead Redemption features iconic, cinematic characters, and through watching their struggles and successes, the player comes to respect and sympathize with them. If these scenes were to be marred with technical issues, or interrupted by glitches, the impact would be lost, especially for newer players.
Rockstar’s bad GTA Trilogy remasters showed that a lot of things can go wrong when revisiting an older title. Too many errors can run the risk of turning a beloved game into a laughing stock, as Rockstar, unfortunately, found out this year. Admittedly, Red Dead Redemption would have fewer potholes to wade through than the GTA Trilogy did. There are only a few licensed songs to navigate, and no GTA-style Hot Coffee minigames to accidentally include. Red Dead Redemption isn’t as old as the games included in the GTA Trilogy, meaning it only requires minor flourishes to be brought up to current-gen standards. In any case, it makes sense to remaster Red Dead Redemption, as it’s a solid game that legions of fans would love to play again, whether they lost their original copy or just want it on their current console.
Whether or not a Red Dead Redemption remaster truly is in the works, it is clear that Rockstar cannot provide the same sort of product that it did with the recent Grand Theft Auto remasters. Remaking a game, especially one as popular as Red Dead Redemption, requires care. If any lessons can be learned from the GTA Trilogy, it’s that Rockstar’s future remasters need to be handled more delicately, and live up to the high standards set by the studio’s other titles.
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Author: Devin Friend